Emily and Matt are getting married this summer! Help them fulfill their dream of starting permaculture gardening and community building projects in central Alberta.

100% of donations will go to help make their vision a reality.
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The Concept of Abundance
~ Emily and Matt, December 25, 2017

When we decided to get married we were beyond thrilled to share our love with all of our friends and family. What a gift it is that we can all gather in a meaningful place to express our devotion to one another.

One thing that distressed us about our wedding was the image we had in our minds of a big pile of plates, crockpots, and other material wedding gifts. What we need in our lives is your love. The material things will always be there for us at the thrift store. Consequently, we have decided to ask that no one brings us gifts.

When we chatted about what we would do to still follow the tradition of giving as we begin a new step in our lives we instantly knew what to do. Our good friend Rajan Rathnavalu is one of the founders of a Camrose based non-profit organization, NEWO. He says that their company’s outlook is that when we receive abundance, we should give it back to the community. We knew that NEWO would know what to do with our abundance, and that when we give to a key leader in our community we will see the impacts on our lives.

As the conversation unfolded we came upon an opportunity for our giving to directly impact our lives together in our early stages of marriage. Rajan had previously mentioned that there is an opportunity to receive government funding for a salary to work on a green initiative. All you need is a passion and to provide the upfront costs for your salary. This attracted us both, but we were waiting for our passion to form.

At the 2017 Spirit of the Land conference everything fell into place. Matt was struck by the conversations on permaculture, and Emily was struck by the idea of a fruit rescue project in the context of social enterprise. When we proposed following these passions Rajan was enthused and ready to move forward with our dreams.

The conversations around permaculture led to the beginnings of the execution of some already-existing ideas for a permaculture project. The term permaculture comes from the words “permanent” and “agriculture” and denotes ecosystemic human habitation and agriculture that works with nature rather than against it. If all plans fall into place, we would like to begin by co-hosting a two-week long permaculture design course (PDC) in Camrose. We would then move toward the design and effectuation of a self-sustaining market garden on a plot of land outside of the city. We hope to create an engaging, educational, and regenerative space for future community members, such as Augustana students taking the “Spirit of the Land” course, local farmers, entrepreneurs, urban dwellers, and anyone else interested in learning about permaculture.

Fruit rescue projects are not a new concept in today’s day and age. Edmonton has two initiatives and Emily will be starting a similar project in Camrose. The basic idea is that there is tons of fruit that rots on the ground every year which could be harvested. We have an abundance of food but not the infrastructure to collect it. The project in Camrose will not only include rescuing the fruit but also a canning initiative. The knowledge keepers of canning are primarily our elders, and so we will be asking them to share that wisdom with the younger generations. Fortunately, we found an opportunity to apply for a government grant that assists with projects that bring together different generations, so we will hopefully tap into that resource.

We have both been approved to be “Young Agrarian” interns, which will allow us to share what we are going to be working on with the greater community of wonderful minds. This would include us hosting a day in Camrose for other young agrarians to see what we are up to and for us to have the support we will need to make connections all across Alberta.

The beauty of both of our projects is that there are endless possibilities for growth, avenues to go down, and ways for everyone to become involved.

Thank you for sharing your abundance of love and if you would like to donate funds as a gift to go towards the start-up costs of our projects, it would be greatly appreciated. We can assure you that only good will come from your monetary contribution and that it means the world to us both.